Posts Tagged ‘increasing awareness’
YouTube is now the 2nd biggest search engine in the world behind Google and ahead of Yahoo. There is a wealth of knowledge on there and it is becoming increasingly important for small and medium sized businesses to have a multi-media presence.
Here are 7 inspirational business videos on YouTube.
Sir Alan Sugar – His words of wisdom on how he started his business empire given in his traditionally direct style.
Richard Branson´s advice for entrepreneurs
The Most Inspiring Thing Ever Said…
Brendon Burchard – Success and winning streaks on how to be an expert in your field by an internationally-acclaimed business guru
Inspirational Speeches in Pop Culture – 40 in 2 minutes
Dr. Marshall Goldsmith - named winner of the prestigious 2011 Thinkers50 Leadership Award – as the World’s Most Influential Leadership Thinker, additionally ranking #7 on the overall list of Thinkers50 world’s top 50 business thinkers
American self made millionaire at aged 14 (I don´t know if I like to hear such business wisdom from a kid or not)
Hope you enjoyed them!
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This is why small business owners and entrepreneurs like working and living in Barcelona
A summary of a few of the interesting stats from: BARCELONA EN CIFRAS 2011 by the Ajuntament de Barcelona.
- Average annual temperature in Barcelona 18,1ºC
- Barcelona has more than 1.600.000 citizens and is the central nucleus of a metropolitan region of close to 5.000.000 citizens, which represents 11% of the spanish population.
- Barcelona is home to 458.918 companies, that is to say, 14% of the total number in Spain. They are made up of principally SME (small or medium-sized businesses – 98%), characterised by a high degree of flexibility and adaptability to a shifting business environment.
- It takes 48 hours to set up a new company in Barcelona.
THE BEST EUROPEAN CITIES IN TERMS OF QUALITY OF LIFE FOR THEIR WORKERS
Source: Cushman & Wakefield, European Cities Monitor 2010.
PRINCIPAL COUNTRIES TO EXPORT GOODS AND SERVICES FROM BARCELONA
- France – 9,1%
- Italy – 8,8%
- Germany – 8,0%
- Portugal – 4,9%
- UK – 4,6%
FOREIGNERS IN BARCELONA BY COUNTRY OF ORIGIN (a selection)
Italy - 22.002
China - 15.001
France - 11.524
Argentina - 8.107
Brazil - 7.178
Romania – 6.592
Germany - 6.413
UK - 5.387
Chile – 4.843
México - 4.227
Total foreign population – 278.320
RANKING OF EUROPEAN CITIES (in amount of visiting tourists)
- London 24.900.000
- Paris 14.416.395
- Berlin 8.262.957
- Rome 7.737.404
- Madrid 7.175.784
- Barcelona 6.997.718
- Dublin 5.476.000
- Munich 4.983.632
- Vienna 4.756.442
- Amsterdam 4.627.700
- Barcelona occupies the 2nd position in the world rankings of organising meetings, conferences, trade-shows and congresses (Vienna is number one) and is also the second urban area with most hotel plazas in Europe.
AVERAGE HOUSING PRICES IN BARCELONA
To rent (€/m2/month) 12.93
To buy a new home(€/m2) 5.242
To buy a second hand home (€/m2) 4.046
And these are the reasons why we live and work here
“European Cities Monitor” (2010)
5th best European city for business
2nd most progressive European city
1st European city for quality of life for its workers
4th most recognised European city
“Scorecard on Prosperity” (2010)
3rd placed city in the global prosperity ranking
1st place ranked city for its attractiveness to work there.
“European cities and regions of the future” (2010 – 2011)
5th place city in Europe
1st place in Southern Europe
“World’s happiest cities”
3rd placed city in the world
“World’s best cities to eat well”
5th placed city in the world
“World Country & City Rankings”
2nd placed city in the world for organising international meetings.
“Best Conference Destination” (2010)
Silver – Barcelona (2nd position)
But the big shame…
“Prices and Earnings” (2010)
Worldwide comparison of net salaries
29th city in the world
So there are the statistics about Barcelona. Now we must continue to improve on the current situation in Barcelona and I guess that is best done by hard-work and being ambitious.
The Ryan Air model has become a lauded case study for business schools around the world. It´s low-cost structure, offering a bare-bone basic product which the customer can tailor with paid-for add-ons gives the consumer better choice in their desired service needs and cost level.
Ryan Air´s founder Michael Leary praises this new system by saying ”only by continuously challenging accepted conventions and questioning costs can we continue to lower costs and fares”.
The question is how far should they go? At what point does offering the lowest-cost most basic product not become the priority but instead maintaining some of those accepted conventions which consumers have come to cherish?
Call a spade a spade
The price advertised for a low fare airline nowadays seldom equates to the price you will pay. There are additional fees, many even obligatory, which must be calculated into the price to make them a true and far comparison against what you will spend.
Treat us like customers not money machines
Ryan Air specifically employees people (or so it seems) at the gate to check the size of carry-on bags. Ryan Air´s bag size allowance is smaller than the majority (or accepted convention) for carry-on luggage although the planes appear the same size. This allows more opportunity to prey on customers miscalculations, charging on-spot fines of 35€ for anyone with a slightly larger bag then there arbitrary size. As a coach I coach businesses to focus on extra revenue sources but I have to ask is this more of a swindle or brilliant extra revenue sourcing?
4 hours before the flight or you pay
Traditionally (or perhaps conventionally) you may print out your boarding pass and check you have “passport, tickets, money” just before you leave for the airport. If you try that with Ryan Air you may be fined 40€. Why, because you are unable to print your boarding pass within 4 hours of flying and it costs 40€ for them to print it for you. Why four hours? Fortunately a Spanish judge has ruled this illegal in Spain and that Ryan Air must print the boarding passes for free. But is this another example of the airline going too far in its pursuit for profits at the expense of an honest passenger?
How far do you go to make a buck?
Ok, so we are a captive audience, I get it. But does this mean that airlines have the right to continuously sell to us?
A Ryan Air flight I was on recently had a crew member walk up and down the cabin twice holding packs and advertising “cigarettes, cigarettes for sale”. Now I know I will be quickly reminded by some that they are smoke-less cigarettes; I agree however, they still include nicotine, still cannot be sold to minors so why are they being openly advertised. Cigarette sponsorship has been banned in many sports because they are not allowed to advertise cigarettes due to the health risks of becoming addicted to nicotine. So why is an airline allowed to aggressively sell cigarettes on a captive audience including minors? It just seems strange to me and goes against all the hard-fought legislation for getting nicotine and cigarettes out of the minds of children. Even with the “smokeless cigarettes help stop smoking” argument it still begs the question, “how far should an airline go just to make a buck?”.
Ryan Air is a great case-study for how we do business in the future but it could become another one for a different reason: how to lose customers.
My worry is that low-cost structure companies are taking the liberty to offer any addition (product feature) as a paid-for addition and sometimes ignoring the true needs of the consumer.
Therefore the balance may have swung. Well done for combating high-fares and creating a low-cost option opening up air travel to many who couldn´t previously afford it. However, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves and become too smug with the low-cost structure. The needs and desires of the consumer must remain as the driving force behind business innovation. Those needs are forever changing and businesses must remain dynamic and continuously adapt their offerings to fit them. As a business you must keep a pulse on the customer through research and feedback.
Through more research, perhaps, Ryan Air may find that the customer need of being respected, valued, not swindled or felt like being a money machine is high up on our list of desires. I personally look forward to that day and will try and avoid Ryan Air in the meantime.
We buy things every day. From family homes to new shoes. It is a part of life however no one likes to get ripped off or buy something they don´t ultimately need. So in order to lower your chances of making a bad decision ask yourself these simple questions when you are just about to buy.
If you find that you answer negatively to a few or more of the following questions then you should think more about whether you need to buy it. If you answer all questions positively then it is safe to proceed.
LOOK FOR RED FLAGS
Can you see it? Can you touch it? Does it work? Could it be damaged without you knowing? Is it a fake?
THE SELLER – WHAT IS IN IT FOR THEM?
A big question you should always ask. Could this make them bias as to the information they are giving you? Do they appear trustworthy? Are there any testimonials or reviews? What is the likelihood that they deliver top quality products? (difference between a street seller, market seller, internet seller, branded high-street store).
How do you feel? Are you in a notorious tourist market? Are you starving at the supermarket? Are you emotion today and shopping for shopping´s sake?
PUT IN CONTEXT
Do you have comparisons? Do you have any direct comparisons? Comparatively is it high quality or good value? Proceed with extreme caution if you have no comparisons or go and find some comparisons to check the value, price, quality and suitability.
How does it compare to the others? Would you say this is exactly what you are looking for or is this the best option available at the time? Are you OK with that?
What is the OPPORTUNITY COST?
What would you be giving up to go ahead with this purchase? Once you have paid for something that money cannot be used on anything else so make sure you are using your money wisely, think what else you could use that money for and decide if the purchase is still the best option for you.
NOW VERSUS LATER
Do you need it now? Is there a benefit to having it now or waiting till later? Could the price change or there be a better option in the future?
QUALITY OF LIFE
Will it make you happy or improve your lifestyle? Sometimes happiness is enough as we are here to enjoy ourselves but just don´t use this reason for every purchase.
FINALLY - IF YOU ARE NOT SURE WALK AWAY
Walking away lets you view the situation from a different perspective, if you leave the shop and move onto the next and don´t think about it again then it is probably good that you did not buy it. If not and you go back and buy it, then you know it was not an on-the-spot emotional decision.
SO REMEMBER TO THINK ABOUT:
Now vs. Later
Quality of Life
Hope that helps and gives you somethings to think about next time you are trying to decide on what to buy. Remember every time we buy something we are making a financial decision so it is useful to get into the habit of using financial analysis (like what you have just done above) to make informed decisions. And once you make smart buying decisions this will lead to more money to save, invest and enjoy nicer things at a later date too.
You can profit a lot from reading people´s opinions as long as you know how to read them effectively. Investment opinion articles and personal finance articles are very common nowadays.
However, opinions can be helpful or misleading so it is important to determine whether you agree or not with them by using these top 12 tips and some critical thinking.
1. Set Your Expectations
You will never find a no-risk guaranteed high-return investment written in an opinion article – so don´t look for one or believe it if someone tells you it is one.
2. Don´t Miss The Boat
Wait, isn´t it the other way around? If you read about it in the papers you have ALREADY missed the boat? A tricky one this. If you are investing on that one piece of news (i.e. Google profits soar 50%) then you have already missed the boat (professional traders would have traded on that news earlier). However if the opinion talks more about long term initiatives or the future then you may not have missed the boat. Remember, Rome wasn´t built in a day and you are looking for nuggets of news that gives insight into how things may be in the future.
3. Know Your Source
Always ask two questions: what have they got to gain from writing this article? and; why should they be considered an expert on the subject? Weigh up the negatives and decide whether it is a reliable source. Read marketing materials with caution. Any post of the internet should be regarded suspiciously as you don´t know their expertise level. Even newspaper articles should be read with some scepticism as they are written to sell papers so sometimes their opinions are exaggerated.
4. Understand What Is Being Said
If there are some words, concepts or acronyms you don´t understand then it is either a badly written piece or it is not meant for your readership. That being said the more you read the more you will understand so keep picking up investment opinion articles as the good ones will explain new concepts and ideas to you in a way you will understand.
5. Does It Make Sense?
Does their reasoning sound reasonable? You may understand it, but now you need to take it one step further and decide whether their opinion makes sense. Try and follow their reasoning and decide whether you agree or. Cut through any waffle and get to the reasoning and then ask yourself “does that sound realistic?”
6. Play Devil´s Advocate
Come up with reasons and an explanation for a counter-argument. Which argument do you think is stronger, the article or the counter-argument?
7. Demand & Supply Rules
The most fundamental economic concept needs to be considered every time you read an investment opinion piece – simple as that. What is the demand for such investment? Why might the demand increase in the future? Are we still going to need this in the future? Secondly, how much supply is there? What are its competitors? What are it´s competitive advantages? Why might supply for this product or a substitute product increase/decrease in the future?
8. Take Out The Emotion
Yours, theirs, or anyone else´s you ask. Emotions don´t help us make good investment decisions. If it is an emotional subject then you have to recognise this and decide how this might add bias to people´s opinions.
9. Formulate Your Opinion
Try and take away from the article your opinion about the subject which you can support with reasons. Or, if you don´t have an opinion, try and formulate some questions you would like to answer in order to form an opinion.
10. Always Get A Second, Third, Fourth Opinion
Never decide outright on just one opinion. Look into the subject further. Internet searches, additional newspaper articles, opinion of a trusted financially-savvy source. Obtain additional opinions and reasoning following these top tips.
11. Discuss further
Discussion will enhance your understanding of the subject. Many people like to discuss these topics, either in forums, internet groups, interested friends, family friends, financial coaches. You can discuss a subject generally or specifically. Try and get the other person´s view before you give your own. Gauge people´s responses but always “know the source”.
12. Awareness, plans, results – possible next steps
Increasing your awareness about investments and personal finance unlocks the door to possible new ideas and opportunities. If you find something that looks interesting then look into ways you can gain more understanding or expertise. A financial coach can help you simplify saving, investments and your personal finance options in order to help you develop a plan based on your personalised goals and objectives. It is a way to grow your savings and understanding at the same time.
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